Game of Thrones Burnout

I like watching game of thrones, or at least I did… Until they started getting rid of all of my favorite characters and killing the good guys.

Now you’ve got an evil queen trying to keep power fighting a psychotic narcissist who will use the ‘little people’ to overthrow the royalty. The people don’t even know that they’re just pawns.

I really want to just return to the north and enjoy the relative peace there… But now it’s being taken over by those who want nothing more than to control every action of every person! There’s just no escape!

Wait… Is that game of thrones? Or the political world? Im losing the ability to tell the difference….

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Nathaniel’s Writings

We have an iPad. Use it simultaneously for Ezra’s homeschool lessons, my creative writing, and Nathaniel’s entertainment. When we go to the gym in the mornings, I spend the first half of my workout on the cycles to keep my heart from giving out under the strain of my substantial girth… I take the iPad with me to make lesson plans, write, or apartment hunt. Then I give it to Nathaniel at the daycare while I’m in the pool doing mobility exercises.

This morning, as I dropped Nathaniel off in the daycare. He reached for the iPad and said to me “dad, I think I’d like to have the iPad to do some writing.”

Completely matter-of-fact.

The boy is 3.

He can’t read.

He can’t write.

But his cuteness got him the iPad this morning for the purpose of ‘writing.’

It appears he’s actually watching YouTube kids, as I expected… But the cute price was paid, so I’m writing on my phone.

My son is cute.

That is all.

😊

Mohicans, Movies, and Melancholy 

Last night I watched the Last of the Mohicans. Today I thought I would do something I haven’t done before so…let’s do a movie review and a societal opinion piece!

First, a synopsis: the 1992 film is based off of the 1826 novel of the same name by James Fenimore Cooper and takes place during the height of the French and Indian War. The movie specifically covers the days surrounding the historical massacre near Fort William Henry, where Huron troops fell upon the surrendered British troops killing and carrying away somewhere between 150 and 1500 effectively unarmed British soldiers and citizens alike (records vary as to the exact number).

Let’s talk about the obvious: yes, Mom, I know it’s rated ‘R,’ I won’t make excuses for myself, but I will point out that, made today, I doubt it would be. While having some blood, it has next to no gore (excepting 1 singular part involving a human heart which is implied to have been eaten,) it has no sex, though some passionate kissing. It has no vulgar language to speak of (quite a feat considering this is the same generation of film as ‘Goonies,’ and ‘While You Were Sleeping,’ which, dispute being family shows, are filled to the brim with vulgarity – seriously, I didn’t even notice it growing up). The reason for the rating is the realistic, though bloodless depiction of war – a siege, a massacre and a half dozen battles being integral to the film. Because of its rating, I won’t recommend that just anyone watch the film, but we’ll continue.

First the bad:

The film doesn’t spend enough time developing the characters. Consequently, despite being an overall tragedy, I didn’t become emotionally invested in the majority of the characters.

The film relies heavily on 1 or 2 camera shots (not exclusively, just reuses them) Since we’re 3 decades out, I won’t feel bad about spoilers here: much of the film happens on cliff sides, and the under-camera-angle-as-someone-falls/jumps/is pushed-off-the-cliff-and-flies-through-the-air is used almost to the extent of being comedic.

The Mohican tribe was neither extinct by the end of the 7 year war, nor are they extinct today. The tribal spokesmen have said of the book, it’s subsequent films, shows, radio dramas, graphic novels, and graphic novellas that the implication of extinction of the tribe has been harmful.

The main character once reloads his flintlock rifle while running up a steep hill (plausible) and completes said reload in a matter of less than 20 seconds (difficult at best while standing, nearly impossible while moving).

Now the controversial:

The theme music is amazing. No, seriously, just absolutely stunning. As in, the theme of the music plays through all of the title’s score, being simultaneously varied enough to bear frequent repetition and powerful enough to hold its own.

The controversy? In my never-so-humble opinion, the theme music is the best epic film score of the generation, beating out anything ever written by the masterful John Williams. Let the hate mail commence.

Finally the good:

This story is stellar. Despite the lack of character development, which isn’t really fair, as the characters do develop, but it’s a lack of character buy in, the story is compelling and powerful.

The historicity of the film is powerful and well balanced with the fictional main characters.

The filmography is stunning: it beautifully depicts New York State before the Revolution (in truth, it was largely shot in the Carolinas, as New York is no longer luscious and green so much as gray and concrete).

I’ve already talked about he music, but it is so good, its merits bear repeating.

The costuming and weaponry are both historically accurate: a big deal when we consider Roman soldiers at Troy… Not that any film has ever stupidly done something like that!

The main character’s flintlock rifle is sexy. I may write more about the weapons of American Liberty later…because that topic interests me.

The fight scenes don’t look fake, nor do they look overly choreographed; one of the major faults of most historical fiction films is over or under choreographing the fights.

I’m so intrigued by the story, that I’ve downloaded the book, and began reading it last night. It’s that good.

In Summary:

The story is sad, as is implied by the title. It is powerfully acted. I caught very little campiness, which is saying a lot. The romance is condensed but not forced.

But today I feel a bit melancholy. In reality, I was right after the movie, but I want to attempt to express why:

The late 80’s and early 90’s had a bunch of great films depicting the colonizing of the West; the fight for freedom; and the founding of our Nation. I’m disappointed that we haven’t seen many films in the last couple decades doing the same. It’s not like we’ve exhausted the repertoire of good period stories, and even if we had, don’t some of them certainly bear retelling?

The sadness enters here: that the market has not demanded stories of American exceptionalism. As a society, we’ve bought, lock-stock-and-barrel (a term from the days of the flint lock rifle, incidentally), the lie that America is no better, and likely worse, than any other nation before. We’ve bought into the re-written history that the pilgrims were genocidal maniacs. I’m sad that we have sat back and watched… No… Paid for… The complete re-writing of our history, our culture, and our very way of life. We’ve written out God. We’ve written out personal accountability and common sense. We’ve condemned rugged individualism. We sold out our pilgrim, pioneer, and explorer history. Like some of our fore-bearers, we’ve looked upon the decadence, laziness, and communal living of European aristocracy and lusted for it.

When I was a boy, some of my favorite stories included My Side of the Mountain and Robinson Crusoe, both adventure stories about people or persons who left society and made their own way (deliberately or not). Not only have we turned that fantasy into a taboo, we’ve regulated the possibility out of existence: we’ve had the government overstep the bound of our founding, crippling the “Dreams” of America.

That makes me sad.

Thus the movie made me a bit sad.

I look forward to teaching my boys about the Iroquois and Wabanaki confederations. I look forward to teaching my boys about the pilgrims and pioneers. I hope to give them even a taste of the wilderness and wanderlust I’ve held my whole life. I fear that Liberty will be lost by and to my generation, but I hope to give the desire for it to my boys, that my grandchildren may know it again.

Celebrating the Day That Changed My Life

Today I have the good fortune of celebrating one of the most important days in my life, if not in all of history. But we’ll get to that in a moment.

What days define a person’s life? The birth of a child? Certainly. Graduating college? Maybe. The day they are baptized? Most definitely. The death of a close friend or immediate family member? Without doubt.

But what of the days that change our lives without us being aware of their existence that the time?

Today celebrates on of those days. 

When I was a young lad, there was an unremarkable hospital in Omaha, but on this day 30 years ago, an amazing couple welcomed their 4th child into the world. This event started a chain reaction that altered eternity.

We met a decade and a half later at the birthday party of a mutual friend (that wonderful friend has since passed on, herself and her parents being killed  by a drunk driver before she’d even had the chance to graduate high school.) being the smooth operator that I was, I used my unskilled pickup lines on her and her friend. It was only later that I discovered her to be the sister of one of my coworkers.

Being a bit defensive of his little sister, Brett was relentlessly teased by many of our friends: threatening to try to date his sister as soon as he left on his mission, which was short years away. I chose to refrain from the teasing, not because his sister wasn’t ‘hot,’ but because teasing is t really my thing so much as dry and sardonic humor. Ironically, I was the only one of those guys to ever date his sister…. And the only one (so far as I understand) that wouldn’t have riled him to do so.

  

It was later still that she and I began carpooling, with my heist friend and hers (who happened to be dating). Every morning we’d all carpool together to our zero hour choir class.

It was about this time that Julie knew that she and I were going to get married…. but she wisely never mentioned that to me, or else it would have never happened. After all, despite becoming good friends, we weren’t dating. Our relationship, while flirtatious, was not really romantic.

As high school continued, it became apparent to me that she valued our friendship in a different way than I did. Oh, she never threw herself at me or anything, she’s always had better sense than that. But while we shared a deep and important friendship, her feelings for me were not yet reciprocated.

As high school came to a close (for me) that started to change. Having an awkward social code, we didn’t really date, though we did go on a lot of dates. I also dated a lot of other girls, be use my rule was that I wouldn’t steady date before my mission (in retrospect it was both a silly and wise choice). Between my senior year and hers, we went together to 3 formal dances and some non-fomals, but I can’t remember how many.

By the time I’d left on my mission, the romance was mutual, but careful. I told her that I didn’t want her to wait for me to come home, as I would make no promise other than that if she was still single when I got home we’d give it a shot, no strings attached. 

When I was visited my ecclesiastical leader to have hands laid on my head and become a missionary, she was the only non-family person invited.

She wrote me while I served the people of Detroit as a missionary, but her letters were nothing but proper and uplifting. She dated a bit while I was gone, and started college.

When I got home, the first non-family member I saw was Julie. I drove 50 miles to her town to surprise her with a visit. If any recently returned missionary thinks to do this: don’t. It’s neither a fun surprise, nor is it anything but akward. I’d spent two years as a full time missionary, spending nor having any time alone with any of the fairer sex: it was… uncomfortable.

As I left that afternoon, I had settled in my mind that we’d given it a no-strings-attached fair shot: and we’d missed. I’d go on to college in a different town, and we’d remain just friends.

She had determined the same thing.

But she had a wise roommate who recommend That she call me and tell me how nice it was to see me, that she’d like to see me again.

Thanks, Whitney, because that phone call set us on a second chance recovering from the awkwardness.

I was still counting in mission transfers when I proposed to her 1 transfer (6 weeks) after being home. It was a week or so later that we decided to be exclusive and not date anyone else. And following Paul’s council, we were married when I’d been home only 3 transfers (18 weeks).

We’ve shared some amazing times together. She suffered through my indecisiveness in college as I initially isn’t dead to go into nursing before discovering that I don’t have the attention span to be a good student (ADHD, anyone? Seriously, though, not diagnosed… But… Seriously).

She was patient as I studied the Deaf culture and ASL and the , again failing to focus on my generals (though doing well enough in the classes that actually interested me). Finally set,I got on a trade school in law enforcement. She supported me through my grueling top secret background check with the FBI, as I began my law enforcement career. She supported me as we were forced to move in with family (thanks to her mom and dad) as I graduated and waited for a police department to hire me. She supported me as that career fell apart: forcing me to choose to be a good husband and father or to be a good cop: I couldn’t do both.

All this time, she got to work her dream: to be a stay at home mother, raising our children.

She supported me through the excruciating hours of restaurant management, and was kind despite my significant weight gain (I’m a good cook… and a better eater…)

She didn’t hesitate as my failing health require me to take work farther and farther from home. Never complaining despite the fact that the first 8 years of our married life had endured 25% of it with us living in different cities.

As my health continued to fail, she didn’t complain as she had to give up her dream of being a stay at home mother, entering the work force and becoming the sole breadwinner.

You see, on this day 29 years ago and holding, the greatest woman in the world was born. Her patience and judgment is impeccable (except perhaps her judgment in men, but I can’t complain about this lapse).

Julie is the love of my life, but she was first my friend, and that friendship has held us together when the love has struggled. She has a, seemingly, infinite compassion and patience. 

I married up, and no one cand doubt it.

This year we celebrate the 10th anniverserary of my best decision, but today, we celebrate the important date that made my decision possible: Julie’s birthday.

Happy birthday to the love of my life.

Looking Forward and Disconnecting… Sort Of

I haven’t had a whole lot of desire to write lately. You might say that the wind got sucked out of my sails by the Republican Party’s abject abandonment of conservative values and constitutionally defined government. I’ve been accused by some of being overly dramatic, and hopefully those people are right.

The solid defeat of every constitutionalist in the primary in favor of a demagogic oligarch shows a deep rejection of the very fundamental values that brought our country and society to where we are today. For some, this is because they reject that place: it is wholly undesirable. For others, it is because they fail to understand how we have arrived where we are. Others, still, look after the welfare and socialist states of Europe and covetously desire that statism for us.

For whatever reason, the rejection of constitutionally conservative ideals at the ballot box is not the problem facing us, but rather a symptom of the problems facing our society in the last 100 or more years.

It is my initial desire to withdraw myself from following the political fields and races. But, as I’ve said before, I follow politics like most men follow sports. It is not my nature to withdraw, despite a desire to do so. I find myself in a predicament: I have no team to root for, the libertarians being the closest left in the field to my values and principles, but the likelihood that they will nominate Gary Johnson, a man who, despite the L next to his name, is only slightly more libertarian than Donald Trump is conservative. Sadly, unlike sports, I’m fully impacted and affected by the outcome, even if my team lost early on.

So, unable to withdraw, I intend to refocus myself: if we, conservatives, constitutionalists, and federalists, have lost the ballots, it is because we first lost the argument, and yet earlier lost the culture. How do I change the culture? I’m not sure that I can, but if I can use my voice to make the argument for conservative values, and perhaps persuade others to my point of view, I will have made some small impact. If not, at least I will have documented for my children that I fought to preserve the freedoms and liberties that my people surrendered. Liberty, once lost, must be regained by the next generations, as I don’t believe it can be returned to the same people who surrendered it.

So in the coming months, I intend to intensely devote myself to the study of the very principles that founded our great nation: that of tge Gospel of Jesus Christ, personal morality, freedom of association, freedom in the market, limited government, equal justice. Hopefully I avoid sounding preachy. But I hope you’ll join me in study, discourse, and the free sharing of ideas; even, and perhaps especially, if those ideas differ from mine.

If you enjoy my thoughts, like my ideas, or have your brain poked by my topics, I’d be honored to have you follow along on http://www.BrokenDad.com, like my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/brokendadblog, and if you like a post, share it on your wall and with your friends. This helps me to know that what I’m doing has an impact and it helps challenge my ideas.

Defending the Disabled: Victimhood and Self Defense

300%

For every able bodied person who is victimized by violent crime, 3 disabled people are (adjusted for population equality).

It’s important for us to know what can be done to protect the weak, the innocent, and the defenseless. Police are not protective forces. I used to be a police officer. I took the motto of “to protect and serve” seriously, as did my blue brothers. But we learned early on that we couldn’t stop violence. Our presence reduced the likelihood of violence. We patrolled areas that were more likely to have violent crime with greater frequency than the area less likely to have it. We actively worked to take criminals off the streets. Each of these things fell into one of two categories of law enforcement: either preventive or reactive protection. 

What we didn’t do, at least not often, was active protection.

Whaaaaaaaat? But the motto is to “protect and serve! You must have been a bad cop!” (I’ve actually been told that when I’ve made this argument…)

The truth is that police can prevent crime by having increased presence and proactive policing policies. And police can punish criminals by having reactive enforcement, but in order to have active protection they need to actually be at the location of the crime while the crime is taking place: so either the cops are everywhere at once (a literal police state), the cops are participating in the crime (God forbid), or they happen to be in the right place at the right time (great when it happens, but not common).

You see, the police can’t stop all violent crime; they aren’t charged with that action; and their failure to stop crime is not something they are legally accountable for.

This is the long way of saying: the police can’t and usually won’t protect you from crime. Arguments against self defense using the police as the basis of the argument are fundamentally flawed and should be sumerily dismissed as such. If someone tries to say that the police will stop violence, I give you my permission to laugh in that someone’s face (though doing so may not be the kind thing to do…)

If we can’t rely on the police to protect us, can we rely on others? I’d challenge the answer is ‘no.’ So we establish that the defense of ourselves belongs to ourselves: thus we reasonably conclude that self defense is the only reasonable form of consistently reliable defense.

Having concluded the reasonableness of self defense, let’s approach the morality of it.

If I wander into a bear’s den, and am subsequently mauled to death, who is blamed? Me or the bear? Sad as they may be, even my family would say “he shouldn’t have gone into that bear’s den!” No reasonable person would conclude that the bear ‘murdered me,’ and most would not even apply any guilt the the bear: as the intruder, the guilt and fault lie with me.

With a simple example, we can see that self defense is not only natural, but also moral: he who defends himself is free of guilt. But as higher thinking creatures, we also have higher levels of responsibility. While a startled bear may reasonably attack the cause of alarm, we, with greater cognitive ability must apply that ability to the greatest possible extent: did the person who startled me in the grocery store the other day pose a real threat? Certainly not. But there are times when we must make decisions with reduced input and with short time: is the intruder in my house a dangerous threat to myself or my family? I probably don’t have time to gather more information, and am thus morally justified to behave naturally: to take defensive action.

We’ve shown that self defense is both reasonable and moral. Let’s discuss the implication of that reason and morality; this is the discussion that the American founding fathers preserved in the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. The right to have a gun is not a natural right, but rather, the right to self preservation and self defense is.

It is important to understand the natural right that is being preserved in order to understand why the founders worded the Amendment the way they did. The right to defend myself being natural, moral, and holy (established by God), I must have the tools to exercise that right.

I used to hold the opinion that if guns had never been invented, the world would be a better place. After all, guns are simply a more efficient method of killing, right? Certainly that’s true.

But there is also an old saying that “God made men, but Sam Colt made them equal.”

Why did the founders specify the right to bear arms? And what did they mean? Did they mean only muskets? Did they mean that it was a governmental or collective right? First, let’s address the latter. The bill of rights has many enumerated rights; each right is individual, and each limitation is on the collective. For this reason alone, we must conclude that the right to bear arms was intended to be individual, rather than collective. The mentioned militia was understood at the time to be nothing more than a collection of well armed individual citizens, and not an entity regulated by the government. 

As for the idea that muskets where the intended arms of the 2nd Amedment? Prior to the writing of the Bill of Rights, there existed fully automatic small arms, and (more importantly to the argument) congress knew about these weapons. In fact, congress attempted to purchase them for the revolutionary militia, but couldn’t raise the necessary funds. Only a few years later, one of these weapons traveled West with Lewis and Clark’s famed expedition. These facts alone should cause anyone attempting to make the left’s favorite “musket argument” be dragged into the street to be vindictively mocked and openly ridiculed. That argument ignores not only the intent of the Founders (to preserve the natural right to self defense) but also all of the facts. But it is also important to note that the founders expressly sited the 2nd Amendment as reason for private individuals to own cannons and other artillery; the founders intended that the phrase “shall not be infringed” be interpreted literally.

Bringing the discussion full circle: the only way for the weak, defenseless, and innocent to truly exercise the right to self defense is to be at least (and preferably better) armed as the one from whom they need to defend themselves. 

As a visibly disabled person, I’m %300 more likely than my able bodied peers to be violently attacked. And despite my not unsubstantial training, I am distinctively unable to use physical force to protect myself. That ability increases exponentially as a persons physical stature diminishes. It inteases exponentially as disability increases. And it increases dramatically with a change in gender. In other words, despite being of average height, having aches the roughly the size of a barrel, being trained in hand to hand combat, I’d be unable to defend myself against an even mildly invested attacker. And that’s why the disabled are so much more likely to be attacked. A small, wheelchair bound woman with muscular distrophy, for example, would be entirely defenseless. 

And so enters the importance of Sam Colt: even with basic training, because of a firearm, my ability to defend myself automatically at least matches the ability of my attacker to attack. In my case, despite a substantial tremor in my shooting hand, I’m still a better-than-average shot (the second best in my graduating class from the Academy with a handgun, the best with a tactical shotgun, and at least among the top with a rifle, if not the top, though we never officially competed there… tooting my own horn here…)  Sam Colt made me equal despite my physical inequality.

My previous belief that the world would be better off had guns never been invented couldn’t be farther from the truth: the biggest and strongest are no longer the only ones capable of violent force. 

And that’s ultimately the most reasonable and moral argument for firearms: without them, the weak and defenseless are stripped of our natural and God Given right to self defense. The more efficient the arms, the better our chances of surviving attack. 

To those of you who are frightened of firearms: please contact me. As a certified firearm instructor, I will either teach you myself or put you in contact with one, like me, who will teach you. One of the best ways to decrease fear of a thing (and in the casemof guns, to substantially decrease the likelihood of accidents) is to increase education.

To those of you who are disabled and looking for an equilizer against the world’s wolves: please consider becoming educated in the safe and effective use of these miraculous inventions, and then getting one. The invitation in the above paragraph stands to you as well, but despite my experience and skill, I’m not certified to teach handguns; however, I’d happily put you in contact with those who are.